In the Depths of Antiquity: Fraud and Suppression of Information in Archeology

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from Chapter 4 of Forbidden

In Forbidden
I documented many cases of fraud and suppression
of information in archeology. Of course, this is just what you would
expect to find in a book with a title like that, coming from someone
like me – a renegade and an outsider. You can therefore imagine
my pleasant surprise to find acknowledgment of such things in a
recent editorial in the pages of Antiquity, one of the literary
pillars of the archeological establishment. You can find this extremely
frank editorial, by editor Simon Stoddard and deputy editor Caroline
Malone, in the June 2001 issue of Antiquity. I’ve met
both Simon and Caroline at various archaeological conferences where
I’ve spoken, such as the World Archeological Congress. There
I’ve seen them in the publication display areas, standing at
a table humbly promoting their journal, like junior staff. I’ve
chatted with each of them a bit on such occasions. Of course, they
are both professional archeologists, and I heard Stoddard present
a paper at one conference, about settlement patterns in Greco-Roman

It happens
I have my own little history with Antiquity. In 1993, when
Forbidden Archeology first appeared, Cyprian Broodbank described
it in Antiquity’s new book section like this: “All the
reasons and evidence why modern humans are not rather recent but
most ancient, a very large, very odd compilation of every anomaly
in a very pink jacket.” I included Broodbank’s remarks
in Forbidden Archeology’s Impact, which also drew a
notice in Antiquity’s new book section, this time (March 1999)
from Nicholas James: “Antiquity’s receptiveness
to alternative archaeologies has been rewarded with mention in Cremo’s
review of the world’s responses to his previous opus. Part
of our comment is even quoted on the dustjacket, along with those
of Richard Leaky [sic] and – Oyez! – Graham Hancock. Drawing
the tome open, we find our whole review faithfully reproduced.”
And now here’s the Broodbank review again – in Atlantis

But let’s
return to the matter at hand. In their June 2001 editorial, Stoddard
and Malone first note that the Taliban in Afghanistan, who recently
destroyed large stone statues of the Buddha in the Bamihan valley,
are not the only iconoclasts in the history of archeology. They
note that the early Christians destroyed quite a bit of Greek and
Roman statuary and architecture. Stoddard and Malone then move on
to what they call “a distinctly archaelogical iconoclasm. .
. . the non-publication of fieldwork.” Archeologists have a
habit of digging things up, and then delaying, sometimes for decades,
any publications about them. Therefore, as far as the world of archeology
is concerned, the things that were dug up don’t exist –
because the circumstances of their discovery have not been officially
reported to colleagues. So, in this sense, nonpublication is a kind
of destruction of archeological evidence. During the time of nonpublication,
archeologists often deny their colleagues access to the artifacts
that have been recovered. One critic noted that 80 percent of all
Italian archeological material has not been published. That’s
interesting. But there’s more. Stoddard and Malone go on to
speak of “another dimension of archeological iconoclasm . .
. that of falsification,” thus entering deeply into my territory,
the territory of forbidden archeology. They note that archeologists
are under such pressure to produce spectacular results that they
sometimes cheat: “We personally remember meeting a brilliant
colleague who over-extended the distribution of Mycenaean sherds
in Tuscany by creative re-use of sherds from a museum store.”
In other words, their brilliant colleague took Mycenaean potsherds
from a museum’s storage rooms, and planted them in sites in
Tuscany, claiming that he found them there. His cheating was exposed
when suspicious colleagues took the pieces he claimed to have discovered
in the field and fitted their edges to the edges of pieces he left
in the museum. Stoddard and Malone, observing that their brilliant
colleague’s cheating would not have been detected simply by
study of his published work, remind us: “Archeological research
is ultimately based on trust . . . a trust that what we publish
is a truthful account.” Such trust is often misplaced, it seems.

Stoddard and
Malone included in their editorial some thoughts on contemporary
archeological fraud written by archeologist Paul Bahn. He found
the case of senior Japanese archeologist Shinichi Fujimara especially
troubling. Late last year, Fujimara was videotaped planting artifacts
at a site in Japan, and photographs from the tape were published
on the front page of a leading national newspaper (Manichi Shimbun).
Fujimara, deputy director of the Tohoku Palaeolithic Institute,
admitted planting 61 of 65 artifacts found at the Kamitakamori site
and all 29 artifacts found at the Soshinfudozaka site. Bahn had
included artifacts from the Kamitakamori site in an archeology textbook
he coauthored with Colin Renfrew.

In addition
to deliberate faking of discoveries, Bahn (p. 237) listed several
other kinds of dishonesty prevalent in archeology, including : (1)
“the distortion or extremely partisan selection of evidence;”
(2) “exaggerated claims;” (3) “the prevention of
colleagues’ access to objects or data;” (4) “the
prevention of publication by critics or opponents, together with
blockage of their representation in the media;” (5) “ferocious
and bullying reactions to the slightest criticism, especially aimed
at intimidating younger colleagues.” And the list goes on.

Bahn states
(p. 238): “In archaeology as a whole the above types of dishonesty
have flourished for the simple reason that nobody is willing or
able to expose the culprits publicly, although there are frequent
mutterings in conference corridors or behind closed doors. Even
here, I am unable to name names, since it would expose both me and
this journal to litigation – although I could cite specific examples
for all of the above.” Bahn says that the dishonesty goes on
because “no one, least of all the media, checks the facts;
or simply because most people find it hard to believe that scholars
could lie and cheat so brazenly.”

Maybe we should
start a legal defense fund for Antiquity so that Stoddard and Malone
could allow Bahn to name the names in a future issue?

Anyway, none
of this fraudulent behavior among archeologists is surprising to
students of forbidden archeology, least of all to me. (And I have
named a few names in my day.) The case of Virginia Steen-McIntyre
is instructive. She and her colleagues, using a variety of techniques,
obtained an age of about 250,000 to 300,000 years for the Hueyatlaco
site in Mexico, where stone tools of a type made only by anatomically
modern humans were uncovered by archeologists. The archeologists,
committed to a recent origin of modern humans (100,000 years) and
an even more recent entry of modern humans into the Americas (25,000
years), refused to accept the dates. And when Virginia Steen-McIntyre
refused to accept their denial, she was subjected to the kind of
pressures that Bahn lists above, ending a promising career. I myself
have had some personal experience of these things. When working
with producer Bill Cote on the NBC television special The
Mysterious Origins of Man
, I found we were blocked from
seeing the anomalous artifacts from the California gold mines, which
were being kept out of sight in the storage rooms of a museum controlled
by the University of California at Berkeley. We also found that
orthodox scientists, led by UC Berkeley paleontologist Jere Lipps,
engaged in an organized effort to stop NBC from broadcasting the
program. When that failed, another paleontologist, Allison R. Palmer
of the Institute for Cambrian Studies, tried to get the Federal
Communications Commission to punish NBC for having shown this program,
which directly contradicted the sacrosanct Darwinian account of
human origins.

But there is
a more fundamental issue at stake. In my studies of Vedic epistemology,
I have learned that all varieties of material knowledge are infected
by four defects. These are (1) karanaapatava, imperfect senses;
(2) bhrama, mistakes; (3) pramada, illusion; and (4)
vipralipsa, cheating. If you look carefully enough, you will find
abundant examples of each in every field of material knowledge,
including archeology. This certainly calls into question the conclusions
arrived at by such systems of knowledge, especially when compared
to the process of acquiring knowledge through other methods, such
as accepting knowledge from divinely inspired records of ancient
wisdom traditions. In my own work, I have relied on accounts of
extreme human antiquity found in the ancient Sanskrit writings of
India to guide my research into the history of modern archeology.
The Babylonian king lists, Chinese emperor lists, Egyptian pharoah
lists, and Mayan calendars may also be added to the list of ancient
wisdom sources that can help guide researchers into the history
of humans beings on our planet (and other planets).

December 22, 2011

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